Central American Foods

Central America includes the diverse lands of Guatemala, El Salvador, Belize, Honduras, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama. There is a delicious range of food and drinks that are popular in these countries. Let's take a little journey together.

Chiles rellenos
Chiles rellenos


If you were to wake up in Guatemala, you would enjoy a simple breakfast, typically tortillas, eggs, beans and plantains. Also, there are delicious fruits including bananas, papaya, mangoes and avocado. Guatemalans also grow coffee, which is known for it's rich taste.

For the remainder of the day, you could enjoy tamales, nachos, and enchiladas. Chiles rellenos is a meal where peppers are stuffed with rice, meat, cheese and vegetables.

If you were to order a roast chicken at a restaurant, you may find that the feet are still attached. They also enjoy eating caldos (meat stews) and sopas (soups).

For dessert Guatemalans love creamy flan and Tres Leches Cake, which is a cake soaked in three kinds of milk.


El Salvador

El Salvador food is quite distinctive from the others lands of Central America. They serve platanos fritos (fried plantains), huevos picados (eggs scrambled with vegetables) and cheeses for breakfast with local fruit.

Since El Salvador borders the sea, seafood is very popular. They also enjoy thick corn tortillas which are stuffed with meat, cheese and squash. Empanadas are pastries made of flour and filled with meat and potatoes with cheese. A popular soup is Sopa de Pata, made with corn, plantains, and meat. A favorite is tamales which are made from corn dough and filled with meat or sweet corn.

A snack may include pacalla which are palm flowers breaded in cornmeal and fried. Curtido is much like sauerkraut, made with cabbage, carrots and other vegetables mixed with vinegar and spices.



Some of Central America's most varied food is to be found in Belize. It has a melting pot of cultures which can be seen in the food they eat.

Breakfast in Belize boasts a popular deep-fried dough called the Fry Jack. Also yummy Belizean biscuits and Johnny cakes with butter and jam are served besides the local fruits, tortillas, beans, eggs and cheese.

The Belizeans have abundant seafood including lobster, shrimp, and snapper. They also enjoy barbecued chicken served with beans, rice and coleslaw. They rub chicken or fish with red recado and slow cook it in broth and serve it over rice and beans.

A delicious favorite is Hodut, which is fish cooked in coconut and served with mashed plantains. Coconut is also used in many Belize desserts. They make delicious coconut fudge, coconut cake and coconut ice cream.



A typical breakfast in Honduras would include tortillas, beans and eggs. You can find many American dishes in Honduras plus burritas (not to be confused with burritos) which contain shredded meats, beans, cheese and avacado rolled in flour tortillas.

In Honduras, tamales can include a variety of vegetables as well as meat. A snack very popular in the coastal regions is Ceviche. It is raw fish and shrimp mixed with onions, cilatro and tomatoes and marinated in lime juice. This is served with tortilla chips.

A Honduran dessert utilizes rice soaked in warm milk with sugar, cinnamon and other spices added. It is called Arroz con Leche.

Cosado and Refrescos
Cosado and Refrescos

Costa Rica

Food in Costa Rica is similar to American food, however, there are a few exceptions. They love to add onions and tomatoes stirred into scrambled eggs for breakfast. It is served with beans and rice, plantains and tortillas. Their typical dish is called a casado (meaning married) since it is a delicious mingling of flavors.

Costa Ricans prepare a black bean soup which is served with boiled egg and heart of palm salad. They love to drizzle a spicy dressing on their food called Chilera made from pickled onions, peppers and vegetables.

Like some other lands in Central America, they love Res Leches Cake, Arroz con Leche and flan for dessert. They also make fruit smoothies with milk or water called refrescos.



Several cuisines influence Nicaragua food. The breakfast is similar to those in other Central American countries, and includes plantains, corn tortillas, eggs, cheese with juice or coffee.

Seafood is abundant and it is served with corn, beans, yucca, peppers and plantain. Chicken and pork are also popular. They made a deep-fried salt pork skin called Chicharoones. They also enjoy cabbage salads.

Nicaragua fix an elaborate stew with shredded meat, tomatoes, onions and peppers thinned with orange juice and broth. Mint is used as a garnish.

A yummy snack is Quesillo which is made with a stuffed tortilla including cheese, onions, chiles and vinegar.

A unique dessert in Nicaragua is Cajeta de coco which is made with yucca and caramelized strings of coconut.



Exotic or familiar foods can be found in Panama. Heavy breakfasts include fried meat, corn tortillas, and eggs. They also eat local fruits and Panamanian coffee.

For a main meal, the people of Panama eat meat, coconut rice and beans. They typically eat squash, plantains and yucca as their vegetables.

Empanadas are pastries filled with meat, cheese and potatoes are popular. A fried yucca roll stuffed with boiled eggs and meat is called a Carimanola. They utilize their plantains in different ways, including fried, baked and ripened.

A typical Panamanian treat is a snow cone topped with condensed milk and sweet syrup.

More by this Author

Comments 29 comments

elayne001 profile image

elayne001 4 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

Thank you Angela Brummer for your positive feedback. I do appreciate it. Aloha!

Angela Brummer profile image

Angela Brummer 4 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

Really nice article. Visually perfect and written perfectly.

elayne001 profile image

elayne001 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

Hola Peacegirl101 - glad I made you hungry with the pictures. I love anything with cheese - so that includes plenty of food. Gotta watch the figure though.

peacegirl101 profile image

peacegirl101 6 years ago

Hola ( hi in spanish )! I just ate lunch and I am so hungry again after I looked at the pictures!!!! I love Tamales and I am a fan of Tortillas. :) Great hub....and great food! :)


elayne001 profile image

elayne001 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

Glad you enjoyed it tuarangi. Breakfast is my favorite meal, so I could go for it. Ta!

tuarangi profile image

tuarangi 6 years ago

I love food and enjoyed reading this hub. I noticed that in many of these countries the breakfasts are relatively heavy just like the English breakfast. They seem very tasty though. Mahalo for the info.

elayne001 profile image

elayne001 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

I love tamales too - once a week is good, but every day it might get tiring. That's why they include spices. Thanks for commenting kat_thurston.

kat_thurston profile image

kat_thurston 6 years ago

you dont think about the food being that great when it comes to countries like that but in reality there actually not all that bad. I've tried the empanada and the tameles and I love them.

elayne001 profile image

elayne001 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

You are right about that pmccray. Guess we have to take a holiday and get our fill in Central America. Wish it was that easy... Appreciate your comments.

pmccray profile image

pmccray 6 years ago from Utah

Too bad these foods aren't prominent in our offerings in restaurant foods. These delicacies look mouth watering. Rated up and shared.

elayne001 profile image

elayne001 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

Thanks Money Glitch. I'm glad you enjoyed your journey through Central America. I appreciate your comments.

Money Glitch profile image

Money Glitch 6 years ago from Texas

Wow, I feel as though I traveled across the world and stopped to taste the cuisine within each location. Thanks for sharing the delightful cuisines of Central America and congrats on being a nominee for this week's contest.

elayne001 profile image

elayne001 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

Thanks habee. I'll let you know when I make my next tamales.

Loren's Gem - they filled the tamales with a meat/sauce mixture with several spices. It can be mild or hot. I really love tamales. Thanks for commenting.

Loren's Gem profile image

Loren's Gem 6 years ago from Istanbul, Turkey

Very informative hub and congrats on the nomination! I'm rating this up! Interesting what's inside that wrapped "tamales". Is it sticky rice or something? Just wondering... :-)

habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia

Looks good to me! What time is dinner? Congrats!

elayne001 profile image

elayne001 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

I appreciate that Ocean. I like your name and I am interested to know more about you. Glad you enjoyed my hub about Central America cuisine.

oceansnsunsets profile image

oceansnsunsets 6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

Hello Elayne, I enjoyed the journey through Central America. What a rich and diverse cuisine. Thank you for the information, great hub! Ocean

elayne001 profile image

elayne001 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

Yeah! Thanks LianaK. Hope you enjoy it.

LianaK profile image

LianaK 6 years ago

In honor of your hub today--I'm gonna have to go find me some Central American grub. Shouldn't be too hard, living here in West Valley :). Great hub. Now I'm super hungry!

elayne001 profile image

elayne001 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

You are welcome Hello,hello. It is nice to be appreciated.

Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Thank you for such an informative hub.

elayne001 profile image

elayne001 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

Thanks Pamela99 and loriamoore for your comments. I enjoy trying new foods albiet some I really don't like, but at least give them a chance. Each to their own, right?

profile image

loriamoore 6 years ago

I guess I'm a picky eater. When I was in Cuba and Kenya, I subsisted on protein bars and didn't eat the food there.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States

Ekayne, This is a great hub on central American food. Great information and pictures.

elayne001 profile image

elayne001 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

Sounds good to me Micky. Hope it won't be too soon though. Thanks for the comments.

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago

If I get to the point I can't ride my bike anymore I think I want to live in Belize. This food helps those thoughts!

elayne001 profile image

elayne001 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

Thanks suziecat7 and MaryRenee. Glad you enjoyed my hub about Central American foods. I also enjoyed learning about it myself.

profile image

MaryRenee 6 years ago

Ruth: Nice food hub! I always wanted to try an empanada, thanks for sharing this great hub! :)

suziecat7 profile image

suziecat7 6 years ago from Asheville, NC

Very interesting food Hub. We don't really think of those countries when it comes to food. Thanks.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article